Amazing but challenging experience June 09, 2016

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 02/01/2016 to 05/24/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad: IHP - Climate Change: The Politics of Food, Water and Energy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about environmental justice and capitalism, things which I hope will continue to shape my life in the future.

Review Photos

SIT Study Abroad: IHP - Climate Change: The Politics of Food, Water and Energy Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

This program is super unique because you live in 3 countries while traveling/eating/living/learning with the same group of students. It is very emotionally, mentally and physically demanding.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

SIT generally covers all costs, and in Vietnam we got a stipend for food. In Morocco and Bolivia there was no stipend because we ate 3 meals a day with our host family or with the group.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $15
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Hopefully IHP will give a stipend in all countries in the future, because often students had to buy their own snacks.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Living in 3 very different countries
  • The social justice-centered approach
  • Mixture of classes and site visits
* What could be improved?
  • More alone time
  • A less hectic schedule
  • Food stipends in each country
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will not have much alone time or quiet time. Find ways to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally- whether that be journalling, walking, meditating, exercising, etc.- and don't be afraid to demand what you need to maintain mental health.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Political Economy and Environmental History

Course Department: Anthropology
Instructor: Priya Chandrasekaran
Instruction Language: English
Comments: AMAZING CLASS with a justice-centered approach. Great readings, in-class discussions, and lectures. This class gave us the theory/lens/tools to critically examine our site visits, other classes, and personal experiences in each country.
Credit Transfer Issues: I think I'm getting a generic college credit for this class, but it should count as major credit for anyone seeking a political science/sociology/anthropology/history degree.
Course Name/Rating:

Fieldworks Methods and Ethics

Course Department: Anthropology
Instructor: Priya Chandrasekaran
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class gave us the tools to work on our semester-long research project in a thoughtful way. The class time itself was not super helpful, but I think Priya plans to change it next semester. The concepts learned, however, and encouragement to work on the project all semester and not just at the end, were very useful.
Credit Transfer Issues: I think I'm getting a generic college credit for this class.
Course Name/Rating:

Comparative Issues in Food, Water and Energy

Course Department: Comparative
Instructor: Various
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was taught by local faculty in each country. Sometimes it was hard to figure out which lectures were for this class and which lectures were for another class, because everything seemed to blend together. But overall, in this class I learned a lot about the history of the countries, which was an integral component of my learning because it helped me situate the things that I was experiencing on site visits and in my personal life into a more deeper understanding of place.
Credit Transfer Issues: I think I'm getting generic college credit for this class.
Course Name/Rating:

Science and Policy of Climate Change

Course Department: Politcal Ecology
Instructor: Various
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class could be greatly improved by incorporating more climate science throughout the semester, instead of just loading it on in Bolivia. There was hardly any focus on science throughout the semester. I really liked the social science-heavy semester, but would have liked a teensy bit more science because it would have helped me understand each country better.
Credit Transfer Issues: I am hoping to get a credit toward my Environmental Policy major.